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What to do with Ray if he returns?

 
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SnA ExclusiVe


Joined: 01 Jun 2011
Posts: 27768
Location: Spokane, WA
PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:47 pm    Post subject: What to do with Ray if he returns? Reply with quote

Do we automatically play him because "it's Ray Lewis", even though Ellerbe and McClain have both stepped up and played better than Ray? Do we play him situationally?

What do you guys think Harbs / Pees should do WHEN Ray returns for the playoffs (I'm not believing he comes back before week 17 or the playoffs).
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dcarey20


Joined: 15 Feb 2006
Posts: 7259
PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, as a matter of fact, we do play him just because he's 'Ray', to be frank. He's the leader of the team regardless of his age and play, and to say that McClain and Ellerbe have been better than him is very debateable.

You might be able to argue Ellerbe because he's been pretty good but I can't see it with McClain. I still want Ray Lewis on our defense, and I'd imagine his return would be a perfect "hype up" for our D. Honestly I just think the D as a whole has been worlds better over the past few weeks, and I think that's in large part to realizing that the way we've been playing defensively is just not the Ravens way of playing D.

You can say what you want about Ray, he's still a good player and I want him starting and leading us through the stretch. Can't wait to see him back.
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kmvoss


Joined: 27 Aug 2010
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If he is healthy... yeah... you play him. I don't think he was as bad and detrimental as people think.
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diamondbull424


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

This same question was asked just a couple weeks back. My answer hasn't changed. You for sure play Ray Lewis.

There are rumors that he returns for the Broncos game and I think he does. During the Steelers game it was amazing to see some of the arm motions he was displaying over on the sidelines because all the research I looked at said such movements should be improbable... then I saw this game and his pregame speech where he's violently clapping his hands together with no regard, his arm extension, his flexibility... that was baffling. I saw that and it was the 'diddle diddle' before I saw Rice run over the middle. Like for me to see Ray do that was seeing something incredible happen.

And Lewis has said he's "on schedule" but, I honestly wouldn't be surprised if he's well ahead of it. The way he looks he's probably been doing a hell of a lot of resistance exercises to strengthen his triceps and not just the flexibility resistance exercises, but weight resistance exercises.

Anyway, shock aside, you you start Lewis. The talk about him being the root of our defensive problems is/was overblown. Earlier in the year it actually looked like his size was serving him well as he was exploding into the backfield more and making key plays with his quickness. In fact, it looked like his play over the final two games seemed to really decline because he was taking so much abuse... his small frame could only work like that at his age, if he were kept clean. Our defensive line was playing horrible and Kemo was getting instantly blown up on virtually every play.

In recent weeks our DL has been doing a much better job in maintaining/winning their 1on1 battles and keeping their gap integrity. That is the biggest key in the improvement of our defense. When we put those "green" guys in, I think it definitely sent a message to our veterans and younger impact players. Arthur Jones technique has improved drastically over the last few weeks... that could be a coincidence, but it might've also had something to do with seeing guys like Bryan Hall and DeAngelo Tyson get more and more playing time and perform better than he has been... likely because they've been playing within themselves and with their technique.

We've seen Kemo do less free lancing than usual.. I still think he does too much free lancing for a NT, but he's at least been serviceable IMO. Cody has played with better leverage more and more. And while Ngata being healthy has done wonders for him, he's also been doing much less free lancing himself when it's not 3rd down. I honestly think Ngata's huge year last season, his contract, and his playmaker label had gone slightly to his head. Not in a bad way, but in the way where he felt he needed to do more to make a play- to play hero ball. But in so doing he was hurting our defense by leaving our LBers open to extra blocks... and in turn our defense was being exposed.

Suggs return has seen Ngata freelance less and maintain his gap responsibilities. We see him having slightly less splash plays, but our defense is overall performing better as a unit because their is trust there.

When Ray returns, that trust up front will still be there. And his blockers (defensive lineman) will actually be blocking for him to allow him to make plays without seeing vicious blocks all the time. There is no question in my mind that Ray Lewis returning will be a better player than Jameel McClain- who I've never been a big fan of. I just hope it doesn't force us to bench Ellerbe- since he's the better player.

If any kind of rotation happens, you put McClain in the rotation with Lewis/Ellerbe. Not the other way around.
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Mancunian Raven


Joined: 09 Oct 2012
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 1:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been impressed with Danell Ellerbe in the last few games. He's looked like a real presence, getting around the field, making tackles (I think he's led the team in each of the games he's started except against the Chargers). He's decent if not particularly good at pass coverage.

So when Ray returns, if he starts then I think I'd also be more inclined to see McClain drop out. Still don't think he's doing enough to justify the contract he got, and I think Ellerbe has more athleticism and mobility, which would be a good counter-punch to Ray's ability to read plays.

But this does depend on what condition Ray is in when he returns. He can be named the starter, and be the first defensive guy out there, but he doesn't need to be playing every snap. Until he's back up to speed, I'd be happy just seeing him come in and out as the coaches see fit.

If he plays 50%, 40% of snaps, even less, then it can only have a positive effect on the defense. Just knowing he's there will be enough to give them a huge lift. And that's on top of the lift they seem to be getting at the moment. They're playing so much better, and the confidence is surging back in, which in turns makes them play even better.

But I've got to say, with this and with the way Suggs returned so fast, the Ravens sure have got some great doctors and physios on staff. Makes me hopeful for Webb coming back strong next year as well.
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alfalcone


Joined: 25 Apr 2009
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 2:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Play Lewis and Ellerbe, and give McClain some reps. I agree that the biggest difference on defense has been the line, particularly Ngata's health. Ray lost weight so he could be rangier and it worked early in the year, but when the line stopped occupying blockers he ran into issues taking on lineman and fullbacks.
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Flaccomania


Joined: 12 Aug 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 4:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Ray is healthy, you play him. No questions asked.
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coordinator0


Joined: 18 Jan 2008
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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If Lewis is able to play he's starting. Period. I don't think he played well at all this season but he's no more of a liability on the field than McClain and he brings so much more in terms of intangibles to the table.
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diamondbull424


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The only issue that I forgot to consider earlier is that when Lewis returns, he'll almost HAVE to be able to take a full load, to be 100% out there. Either that or we're likely benching Ellerbe for Lewis.

Because McClain has the helmet that calls in the plays. So if Lewis returns but we're putting him in a rotation, than that helmet isn't on the field for 100% of the snaps. There's really no other player we can give the helmet to. Since Suggs has returned he's been in a healthy rotation with Kruger, Upshaw, McClellan. Ngata has always been in a pretty decent rotation on the line. And Ed Reed is so far back in the secondary that in a loud stadium, it would be near impossible for him to make any quick changes to the front 7's play without coming closer to the line and exposing the defense deep.

That just might be the more interesting question here. When Lewis returns, does he return with the helmet or do we have McClain continue to man those responsibilities to have Lewis in a rotation. That'll be a big decision. Because while you want it to be Lewis... you also don't want to expose him for any longer than you can... and he'll have to get back into full out game shape to take that kind of snap load.
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